Rail Powers Idaho’s Economy
Since Idaho’s statehood in 1890, rail transportation has been vital to the Gem State’s growth. Two of Idaho’s most important industries, agribusiness and the extraction of raw materials, continue to rely on rail service to connect to markets across the continent.
Idaho's 10 freight railroads operate over 1,638 miles of track and employ 1,343 in the Gem State.* It would have taken approximately 7.3 million additional truckloads to move the 130.6 million tons of freight that moved by rail in Idaho in 2019. Moving freight by rail prevented 1.7 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions, the equivalent of taking 333,000 cars off the road or planting 25.7 million trees. Food products and nonmetallic minerals make up the majority of freight rail shipments beginning in Idaho. Nonmetallic minerals, farm products and chemicals are the largest rail imports to the state.